The Great War, I was there - Part 2

in all that con­fusion. One badly wounded in the head, yet conscious enough to point to the man lying next to him. “Sir, that man alongside blew off his own right hand recharging a fuse to blowup abridge across that canal which the Germans had captured. He went back alone of his own accord to do it himself— the first charge wouldn’t go off. If he hadn’t stopped the Germans, they This map shows in detail the district in which the battle of Atons was fought. Le Borinage is the mining country (see photos below). The fighting retreat is mapped in colour in pp. 70—71. would have enfiladed our whole line.” The men were, I think, both Royal Engineers. 1 dressed the stump of the hero of the bridge and hastily scribbled his name and number in my notebook. “You won’t be forgotten,” I said “you deserve a V.C. I’ll see that the General hears about it.” I was in the midst of giving instruc­tions as to each wounded man not injured in the stomach having at least a litre of milk a day, when an excited sister seized me by the arm.“ M ’sieur! Goat once! The Germans are here !”“Here !”“Yes, m ’sieur, in the street outside I No !Not that !Byway the side door— to the right !Quick !Quick!” I dashed to the side door to find my groom and orderly looking pale and excited. They, too, had just seen the Germans indeed had actually rubbed shoulders with them in the darkness outside. We all three flung ourselves on our horses and dashed away from the Mairie, not knowing in the least which direction to take. Alight rain had begun to fall and the cobble-stones were greasy. Shots behind added wings to our speed. Gal­loping madly in the darkness ,slithering and skid­ding through those silent streets, we were nearly down half a dozen times. W7 here was every­body ?What had become of the British Army? Why had nobody told me ?Where were we galloping to? Chasseurs anglais ?THE EDITOR SURVEYS THE SCENE OF AN HISTORIC ENCOUNTER Above is the high ground between Peronnes and Brav, seen from the latter village, while on the right the same area is viewed from Peronnes. The same slag-heap is seen in both photographs, towering above the battlefield, over which the Editor out.looks The neigh­ bourhood of Bray is memorable as the scene of the first encounter of the Scots Greys with the enemy, in which they showed the valour traditional in the regiment. The battle of Alons is called by Belgians the battle of Mons and Le Borinage (the Black Country), for the area in which it was fought, shown in detail in the map above, is largely a coalfield. The mining district is indicated by sketches of slag-heaps, and the beet-growing area, just north of it, by sketches of beet plants.“ Ou sonl les Oil sont les Dragons lade Garde I”? shouted through the echoing streets, the excitement playing havoc with my scanty French. There was no answer to my ill-judged questions, only shots and the echoes of our clattering hoofs. Suddenly we were fired at point-blank from in front the flash showed a group of dismounted cavalry on the left of the road. Someone shouted in French:“ Qui va la?”The voice had an unmistakable English accent.“ Who’s that?” I shouted. I ’m 4th Dragoon Guards.” “Ninth Lancers,” answered the voice. “Where the hell have you come from ?”We had bumped into the rear troop of the rearguard of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade. Geoffrey A’Court, I think it was, and his men were guarding the railway crossing. There was a hurried explanation, and the sliding metal uates rolled back for us to cross the lines.
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